5 Kenyans Appeal For Help After Being Coerced Into Forced Labour

A photo of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia
A photo of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia

Five Kenyans are appealing for help from their fellow countrymen after enduring four months of unpaid work and subsequent job loss in Malaysia. 

Charles Macharia, Geoffrey Maina, David Kevin Ochola, Dickson Otieno, and Sospeter Ngahu are currently homeless and in desperate need of assistance. 

Their journey to Malaysia began in April of this year, facilitated by an agent who had promised them better job opportunities abroad.

Upon their arrival in Malaysia, they were handed over to another agent, who transported them to a shipping company located five hours away from the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2019.

The 5 Kenyans were initially employed as casual labourers and fulfilled their responsibilities, only to find themselves unpaid at the end of the first month. 

Despite this setback, they persevered through four months without receiving any compensation.

To exacerbate their situation, they discovered that the company only distributed payments through their Malaysian agent. 

During this period, their families struggled to send them meagre amounts of money, barely enough to afford the most basic needs, such as food.

As the delays in payment continued to mount, they finally mustered the courage to approach the agent to inquire about both their unpaid wages and their livelihood expenses. 

Regrettably, their attempt to seek assistance resulted in a harsh response, with the agent callously claiming to have purchased their services for a mere Ksh 156,000 each.

Now, they find themselves compelled to scrounge for makeshift accommodations within the warehouse and resort to preparing their meals under the confined space of a stairwell.

Compounding their predicament, their termination from employment has led to accumulating fines for overstaying in Malaysia. 

Their most pressing distress is the mounting fines, given their inability to secure the necessary funds for purchasing tickets that will allow them to return home.

"Our families don't have that kind of money, that is why we are stuck here. Each day they are accumulating debts and that means even when we get back home we are going to start from zero," Sospeter Ngahu remarked via a video call interview to a Kenyan media station.

To make matters worse, their initial point of contact has become unresponsive to their pleas for help. 

Efforts to seek assistance from the Kenyan embassy in Malaysia have proven futile, as they are confronted with the daunting requirement of clearing their fines and obtaining return tickets to Kenya before any assistance can be provided.

Photo of Living Condition in Malaysia
Photo of Living Condition in Malaysia
Citizen Digital